David Rodeback's Blog
Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
New Hymns from the Sutherland Institute
How gentle God's commands!
In the spirit of Edward Snowden, though I do not particularly admire him, I recently hacked into the servers at the Sutherland Institute. There I found drafts of what appears to be a new hymnal. I can't tell from the files I found whether publication is imminent; nor can I discern the intended distribution. The new hymnal could be just for in-house pep rallies -- devotionals, they probably call them. Or perhaps it's for public sale, aimed at the limited but well-financed subset of Mormons who think actual Mormonism is too concerned with things like freedom and kindness, and not nearly righteous enough.
To make a long story short, I discovered that they have rewritten all or part of some familiar Mormon and other Christian hymns to suit their higher principles. I grabbed some samples to share with you. You'll see some evidence of their preoccupation with quivers full of children, and also their odd idea of religious freedom, which includes incorporating their religious principles into civil law, and being spared the presence in the workplace or neighborhood of anyone who makes moral choices of which they disapprove.
In the Sutherland Institute's defense, I hasten to note that tweaking existing hymns to fit your own doctrine is a common practice among churches; it's not some new, outlandish abuse. So I hope we can set aside that possible distraction and agree to focus on the message of their newly-revised hymns.
(By the way, I thought about leaking the following samples a few weeks ago, but the Utah Legislature was still in session, and I wanted to avoid the risk of having these sung on the floor, and it being my fault.)
They appear to have left the first verse of one of my favorite hymns, "In Humility, Our Savior," unchanged, but they have altered the second verse somewhat, after leaving the first two lines intact:
That's it for now, folks. Please don't be horrified. Every belief system has the potential to offend someone, tends to encourage self-congratulation in some adherents, and looks a little odd from the outside.
If you'll pardon my own self-congratulation for just a moment, I would like to point out that it's only the first day of April, and I've already blogged once this month!
Copyright 2014 by David Rodeback.